JEFF Chan delivered on offense in his return, but credited Phoenix’s team defense for spelling the biggest difference in the 102-95 win over NLEX in their PBA Philippine Cup matchup on Sunday night.
Back after missing their last game of 2017 due to a flu, the veteran gunner scored on 8-of-11 shooting, including two triples – all in the first three quarters – in 27 minutes off the bench.
But Chan was also part of the Fuel Masters’ pressure defense that put the clamps on Kiefer Ravena and Kevin Alas.
“Challenge, ‘di ba?” Chan, who will turn 34 next month, said with a smile. “Tsaka I think maganda na rin sa akin yun kasi nakukundisyon ako. So at least, mas better yun kasi matatapos ko yung game, hindi ako yung sobrang hingal na hingal. I think better yun sa buong team, hindi lang sa akin.”
Chan, who added six boards, three assists, and committed just one turnover, needs the extra cardio to get his conditioning back after missing their 125-102 win over Kia last December 27 after getting hit by a flu and sore eyes. He also scored 18 points in their first game of the season against San Miguel Beer.
“Actually hindi pa (ako kundisyon),” Chan said. “Naghahabol pa nga ako eh. I think January 2 ako nakabalik kaya kanina sumesenyas ako kay coach na sub pag pagod na ako. Hopefully next game okay na yung condition ko.”
Still, Chan was healthy enough to make an impact for the Fuel Masters to get their second straight win – doing it against his former Rain or Shine coach in Yeng Guiao.
“Always fun playing against, or playing with coach Yeng. Tough team sila,” Chan said.
“Syempre kailangan natin talunin yung mga malalakas na team,” he added. “Sila yung mga mahirap kasi eh. Para ma-reach namin yung goal na makaabot sa playoffs, kailangan namin sila matalo. Para yung kumpiyansa namin hindi bumaba.”